On Thursday, February 20, I got the opportunity to attend Newberg City Council meeting and experience first hand, our local city governments work.
Newberg is a town, about an hour drive away from Portland. I typically cannot stand long drives- they make my head hurt. So, I planned ahead, and brought an OBOB (Oregon Battle Of The Books) audio book to listen to on the way there. The book, Out of Left Field, is one of my favorites from this year’s selection of sixteen OBOB books. Listening to the book made me forget about the long drive, and it felt like we got there in no time.
My mom, my grandfather visiting from India, and I, arrived at the venue, a bit ahead of schedule. We waited in the entry hall, and looked around. There were many different framed pictures on the walls, mostly of flowers, which of course I took a bunch of pictures of. The beautiful daisies and chrysanthemums made me feel so peaceful and content!
When we entered the banquet hall, we met with Mary Beth Herkert, and got our name tags, and raffle tickets, which were for the raffle later that evening. As we got seated, the mayor of Newberg, Mr. Rick Rogers, gave the introduction, and described the agenda for the evening.
When the mayor had finished his announcements, we went to get our appetizers and socialized with the attendees. I was very excited to run into the daughter of a retired teacher from my elementary school, Mrs. Yarnell, there!
Soon after, Mary Beth Herkert went on stage to talk about civics education and also about the Kid Governor program. She also talked about the three branches of government and even offered the audience to pick up a copy of the constitution she brought with her. Then, it was time for me to go onstage, and describe my three point plan. I also fielded some questions from the audience. One person asked me how I got so good at public speaking, and who trained me to be so confident, and that made me laugh!
By then, I started to feel hungry, and, lucky for me, it was time for dinner. There was pasta, green beans and mashed potatoes, which were all super delicious, there was also a tiramisu cake for dessert, which I loved!
Post dinner, it was time for the mayors and councilors of several Oregon towns to take turns and talk about the latest developments from their region. One mayor told everyone how there was a collapsed bridge that would need rebuilding in their town, and a sewerage problem they are addressing. Another city councilor talked about the new bakery that opened in their city center. I found this all very interesting – I learnt so much about these Oregon towns just by sitting there!
As the evening drew to a close, I took a bunch of pictures with all the city council personnel that were there.
One even asked for my autograph on their copy of the constitution!
My grandfather thought that was very cool and he too wanted a picture with that councilor!
Here’s a video summarizing the evening: https://youtu.be/6LQeaMBnpn4.
It was an evening that taught me a lot about how local governments work and how projects get done that help the communities. The gift card I had won for Newburg city bakery was the cherry on top and I am really looking forward to putting it to good use!